NIU alumni form Kane Repertory Theatre in St. Charles

NIU alumni form Kane Repertory Theatre in St. Charles

  • Elise Delap (Emily Webb) and Carolyn Larsen (Mrs. Webb) perform in Kane Repertory Theatre's production of "Our Town." Performances continue through Oct. 19 in St. Charles.

    Elise Delap (Emily Webb) and Carolyn Larsen (Mrs. Webb) perform in Kane Repertory Theatre's production of "Our Town." Performances continue through Oct. 19 in St. Charles. Courtesy of Jennifer Heim

 
By Eileen O. Daday
Daily Herald correspondent
Posted10/9/2019 6:00 AM

Calling all Huskies!

A new theater company founded by recent Northern Illinois University alumni debuted in St. Charles last week, and this weekend its cast and crew are calling it an NIU alumni weekend.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Kane Repertory Theatre drew a full house with its production of Thornton Wilder's "Our Town" Saturday, Oct. 5, at St. Charles' Marquee Youth Stage. Shows continue at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 11-12, when NIU alumni will get $5 off their ticket price. The show closes the following weekend, with performances at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 18 and 19.

Kane Repertory Theatre, a new theater company founded by recent Northern Illinois University alumni, debuted in St. Charles last week with a production of "Our Town." Performances continue through Oct. 19. Paul Kassel is stage manager.
Kane Repertory Theatre, a new theater company founded by recent Northern Illinois University alumni, debuted in St. Charles last week with a production of "Our Town." Performances continue through Oct. 19. Paul Kassel is stage manager. - Courtesy of Jennifer Heim

"We're hoping to make it a Huskie celebration," says Avery Bowne, founding member and artistic director of the new company.

"We didn't set out to seek alumni when we started this idea," adds Bowne, who co-founded the group with Daniil Krimer, managing director, "but we just keep bumping into so many along the way, that it's become incredibly valuable to engage the alumni network."

Bowne and Krimer were among a graduate class of 15 members who recently obtained their master's degrees in fine arts with a concentration in acting. All but one has become company members, while even the technicians working behind the scenes earned their master's at Northern in fine arts, with a concentration on design technology.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The show even includes two faculty members: Dean of the NIU College of Visual and Performing Arts Paul Kassel and NIU Associate Provost for Engaged Learning Renique Kersh.

Kane Repertory Theatre, a new theater company founded by recent Northern Illinois University alumni, debuted in St. Charles last week with a production of "Our Town." Performances continue through Oct. 19. From left are Anne Wrider (Mrs. Gibbs) and Bruce Worthel (Dr. Gibbs).
Kane Repertory Theatre, a new theater company founded by recent Northern Illinois University alumni, debuted in St. Charles last week with a production of "Our Town." Performances continue through Oct. 19. From left are Anne Wrider (Mrs. Gibbs) and Bruce Worthel (Dr. Gibbs). - Courtesy of Jennifer Heim

"As a cohort, we spent three years in rigorous training, working together to deepen the tradition of artistic performance," Bowne says. "We literally lived together, were in every class together, rehearsed together and performed together.

"What we saw in our classmates and our productions was this incredible depth of talent," he adds, "and we wanted to carry that tradition forward."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Fittingly, their choice of mounting Wilder's classic "Our Town" as their opening show is a bit like art reflecting life.

The story, set in fictional Grover's Corners, New Hampshire, revolves around the lives of the close-knit community who live together, work together and celebrate life's ups and downs together, much like the NIU theater grads.

Kane Repertory Theatre, a new theater company founded by recent Northern Illinois University alumni, debuted in St. Charles last week with a production of "Our Town." Performances continue through Oct. 19. Avery Bowne (George Gibbs) performs a scene with Elise Delap (Emily Webb).
Kane Repertory Theatre, a new theater company founded by recent Northern Illinois University alumni, debuted in St. Charles last week with a production of "Our Town." Performances continue through Oct. 19. Avery Bowne (George Gibbs) performs a scene with Elise Delap (Emily Webb). - Courtesy of Jennifer Heim

"The show really celebrates that sense of family," Bowne says, "and because most people are familiar with the story, it doesn't present a high barrier for entry. It's compelling and depends on the relationships the actors build to succeed."

As Wilder requested, the show has few set pieces, but instead focuses mainly on the actors to bring the town and its narrative to life.

"The show relies on the imaginative efforts of theater to make the story alive," Bowne says. "And because of that, it continues to remain fresh."

When they searched for a location, they saw a void for this kind of theater in the Fox River Valley, Bowne says, as well as a strong sense of community that would receive them well.

If the opening weekend is any indication, their instincts were right. Going forward, they hope to stage two to three shows per year, with another show in the works for late February or early March.

• • •

Kane Repertory Theatre's debut performance of "Our Town"

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 11, 12, 18 and 19

Where: Marquee Youth Stage, 619 W. Main St., St. Charles

Cost: $25 for adults, $22 for seniors and $10 for students; NIU alumni receive $5 off Oct. 11-12

Details: www.kanerepertorytheatre.com/box-office

0 Comments
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.